Skip to content
Skip to content
Open navigation

Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

What is Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

State, local, and federal health officials are continuously monitoring and responding to an on-going outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Cases have been identified globally, including within the United States.  Coronaviruses are not a new family of viruses and are common in different species of animals including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. In humans, there are multiple strains that can cause mild respiratory symptoms or even the common cold.  In years’ prior, other strains have been associated with SARS and MERS.

What is currently understood about COVID-19 is that it spreads person-to-person among close contacts via respiratory droplets produced from coughs or sneezes. It is also possible to spread COVID-19 via touching infected surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes.

With an incubation period that lasts 2-14 days, symptoms associated with COVID-19 include mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Spread in the absence of symptoms is possible, however those who are symptomatic are the most contagious.

Preparedness is key as we plan for the identification of additional cases in the days ahead. The American Nurses Association supports your ongoing efforts on the frontlines to treat and prevent the spread of COVID-19. As the situation continues to rapidly evolve, we want to hear from you. Complete our survey and email us at with your questions, your concerns, and stories of care on the frontlines. We appreciate this information as it is helping us understand the needs of nurses during this public health crisis.

Complete Survey 

The survey is closing on Friday, 04/10, at 5:00 PM (EDT).


Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses

Nurses are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response. We have created a Coronavirus Response Fund for Nurses to enable the public to support and thank nurses. The national fund will address the identified, emerging needs of nurses. Text THANKS to 20222 to make a $10 donation



Capitol Beat From the American Nurses Association: Congress Passes and the President Signs into Law Third COVID-19 Package

On March 27, 2020, the U.S. Congress passed and the President signed into law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. It includes more than $2 trillion in spending and tax breaks to help the economy and health care providers respond to the pandemic.

Learn more

Special ANA COVID-19 Webinar

Be Confident Protecting Yourself and Providing the Best Care to Your Patients
During This COVID-19 Pandemic

Nurses and health care workers face ongoing challenges with the supply and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during times of supply chain shortage, patient surge, and evolving evidence on COVID-19. ANA is partnering with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) to bring you this free, online, on-demand webinar. A link to view the webinar at your convenience will be emailed to all registrants the week of March 30.

Register for the webinar here

What Nurses Need to Know

Crisis Standards of Care

  1. Preparedness, Early Identification, and Notification

    All nurses and the health care team must receive the highest level of protection to provide care for the individuals and communities in which they serve. It is essential to develop and educate ALL staff on preparedness plans that provide infection control procedures and protocols used within the health care facility for the early identification, containment, and care of patients with symptoms associated with Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) to prevent spread within the facility. 

    • Develop inpatient, ambulatory, and home care policies and procedures that are in line with current CDC guidelines for COVID-19
    • Provide training to all personnel on screening and isolation procedures
    • Provide updated training and guidelines on the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including the use of N-95 respirators, gloves, gowns, masks, eye protection, and a face shields
    • Display clear signage with instructions for access and use of PPE
    • Ensure consistent use of proper hand hygiene, standard precautions, contact precautions, and airborne precautions, along with the proper use of a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)-Approved N-95 respirator or higher
    • Clearly display signage for patients that lists symptoms and instructions to wear a face mask before entering the healthcare facility if symptoms are present.
    • Incorporate assessment questions to document a detailed travel and community exposure history when patients present with fever, cough, or respiratory illness. 
    • Identify, in advance, airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR) or negative pressure rooms, for quarantine and screening
    • Outline staffing protocols to facilitate care of patients with COVID-19 to minimize patient-to-patient and patient to health care worker transmission
    • Develop a telephone triage protocol for patients to access from home to minimize community based transmission
    • Have available for immediate notification of Patient’s Under Investigation (PUI) the infection control personnel at your facility and the local and state health department. Click here for additional Recommendations for Reporting, Testing, and Specimen Collection and the fillable COVID-19 PUI case investigation form
    • For Patients Under Investigation (PUI), follow the Criteria to Guide Evaluation of PUI for COVID-19

  2. Isolation, Quarantine, Monitoring, and Hospitalization

    The CDC recommends several steps for identification and maintenance of COVID-19 along with detailed guidelines for isolation precautions to prevent transmission. Have clearly displayed a flowchart for early identification and assessment of COVID-19 At this time, the modes of transmission include respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes and tranmission by touching the eyes, nose, or mouth after contact with an infected surface.

    1. Have masks available for PUI to don before entering the healthcare facility
    2. Once identified, isolate the patient to airborne infection isolation rooms (AIIR) or negative pressure room and keep the door closed. Conduct the assessment in this room.
    3. Healthcare personnel entering the room should use standard precautions, contact precautions, airborne precautions, and eye protection (goggles or a face shield)
    4. Don Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) before entering the room
    5. Have guidelines for the proper use of PPE displayed throughout the healthcare facility
    6. Have infection control personnel available to provide just-in-time training on proper PPE use
    7. Notify your infection control personnel and the local and state health department of suspected cases

  3. How to Educate Your Patients and Minimize Spread within the Community

    Per the CDC, it is known that coronavirus is part of a large family of viruses that can cause illness in people and animals.1 It is known that COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes. It is also possible to spread COVID-19 by touching your eyes, nose, or mouth after touching an infected surface. The CDC provides the following guidance to help prevent COVID-19 from spreading among people in homes and communities4:

    • STAY HOME except to get medical care, do not use public transportation or taxis if sick
    • Call first before visiting your healthcare provider. Notify them of your symptoms and the need for evaluation for COVID-19. Follow the instructions provided by your healthcare team
    • Separate yourself from other people in your home, utilize a separate bathroom
    • Wear a facemask as instructed if you are sick
    • Use your elbow to cover your coughs and sneezes
    • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
    • Avoid sharing household items
    • Monitor your symptoms
    • For a full list of guidelines and recommended actions for preventing the spread of Coronavirus visit

Information for Healthcare Consumers

Guidance for Consumers Who Want to Help

Protection and education are essential in the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom, and upon returning home
  • Avoid shaking hands and opt for an elbow cross or fist bump as a greeting instead
  • To learn more, and to download information to share within your community, visit:

What you need to know

What to do if you are sick

Stop the spread of germs poster

Symptoms of Coronavirus Disease 2019 poster

CDC’s guidelines to prevent spread within your home and community.



ANA’s Position on the Use of Cloth Masks

Evidence does not support the notion that cloth masks are safe for health care professionals providing care to patients with coronavirus. ANA continues to press for appropriate PPE including N95 respirators and if those are not available, medical/surgical masks. Nurses should not be wearing cloth masks – they do not afford the wearer any significant protection.

TW Image Myth cloth masks.png
Cloth Masks: Myth and Fact

Information for People Traveling

It is recommended that nonessential travel is postponed as global spread of COVID-19 continues. Vulnerable populations including older adults and any individual with serious or chronic medical conditions are at heightened risk.

Information for School Nurses on Preparedness Planning

Slowing the spread of COVID-19 within the community involves prevention of the spread within schools and childcare facilities. Limiting the spread within schools protects not only our children, but their families, particularly elderly family members and family members with compromised immune systems and chronic health conditions.

Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Childcare Programs

COVID-19 and Children

Key Messages and actions for COVID-19 Prevention and Control in Schools


Volunteer Resources and Response

Nurses are reliable and proven responders during infectious disease emergencies, providing safe, quality, compassionate and nondiscriminatory care to their patients and the communities in which they serve. If you are looking for ways to volunteer your knowledge and skills, you can visit the following resources for ways to get involved.

Guidance for Nurses Who Want to Volunteer

Mental Health and Wellbeing Resources for Nurses

Mental Health Resources for Nurses Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic

Coping mentally and emotionally with the COVID-19 pandemic is difficult for everyone, but even more so for nurses.  Please know that you are not alone-you are providing care to a grateful nation, and the American Nurses Association honors your service.

Below, you will find two categories of resources to assist nurses and other healthcare providers with mental health resources.  The first category is for dealing with stress, fear, and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 Pandemic.  You may also want to check with your employer, university, state or specialty nurse association, or your state board of nursing about their resources including any employee assistance program (EAP) or peer assistance/counseling programs. The second category contains national lifelines and healthlines. 

If your stress, anxiety, or fear causes you to think about suicide or be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.


National Life- and Helplines

Related videos

ANA media coverage and other useful information sources related to the coronavirus pandemic.

watch all videos

ANA President Dr. Ernest Grant urges the public to stay home amid COVID-19

(3/27/2020) - As nurses fight on the frontlines of the coronavirus, Dr. Grant asks that the public practice physical distancing to help to confront this public health battle. Give physicians, nurses and everyone on the health care team a fighting chance at having the equipment, time and resources necessary to take on this pandemic.

ANA CNO stresses health care needs specifics on production of ventilators & medical equipment

(3/20/2020) – ANA Chief Nursing Officer Debbie Hatmaker addresses the recently invoked Defense Production Act, stressing the need for government and industries to share specifics on the production of ventilators and medical equipment so the health care community can prepare.

ANA leader’s advice to the American public during PBS NewsHour’s coronavirus special

(3/19/2020) – Cheryl Peterson, ANA Vice President, Nursing Programs reinforces the actions everyone must take to bend the coronavirus curve.

ANA Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The ANA Enterprise, the family of organizations composed of the American Nurses Association (ANA), American Nurses Foundation and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), is committed to keeping you informed about our actions in response to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic and national emergency.

Since the global outbreak began, we have provided updates via our coronavirus resources webpage, social media channels and email communications. We continue to advocate for clear, evidence-based guidelines and sufficient resources to support our nation’s registered nurses and other frontline healthcare providers in safely and effectively responding to the virus and protecting the public.

Given the rapidly evolving situation, our desire to help stem the spread of the virus and protect our employees and their families, we are following CDC’s guidelines for social distancing. That means a large number of ANA Enterprise employees are teleworking. We will maintain operations and are committed to supporting our members, customers and the communities and patients you serve.

Nurses have always answered the call to serve their country and communities during times of crisis. We know that clear communication, collaboration, resilience and innovation are key to navigating the challenges of effectively responding to COVID-19. We stand with you and will continue to advocate on behalf of our nation’s nurses.

You are now leaving the American Nurses Foundation

The American Nurses Foundation is a separate charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The Foundation does not engage in political campaign activities or communications.

The Foundation expressly disclaims any political views or communications published on or accessible from this website.

Continue Cancel

Item(s) added to cart

Go to cart Continue Shopping